My first meditation teacher was a guy called Andrew Henley. He taught meditation to all the Karuna teacher trainees at one point and to be honest, he was my first lesson in non-judgment beacuse he is a Barrister and before that, he was a senior ranking officer in the metropolitan police. Not really the kind of careers you’d link to someone who teaches meditation!
But Andrew’s heart is open and he helped me to open my heart in one simple exercise.
It was at the end of a particularly intense yoga session at a TT residential, in a convent, in the heart of the Kentish countryside. Andrew was set to take a guided meditation, but decided to play a game instead.
He called for a volunteer and somehow I found myself as that person. I’d only just started my training and was kinda embarrassed about being singled out, but I went with it.
I had to lay outstretched on the floor in front of the 40 or so people in the class while Andrew checked to see if my chakras were in balance. Using a crystal pendulum he started from my base chakra and worked his was up, letting the pendulum rotate over each point. When he had done this with all seven, Andrew went on to tell the class (and myself) that my heart chakra was out of balance ( I seem to remember that the pendulum had rotated anti-clockwise over my heart chakra… in Wicca, anti-clockwise is called widdershins and isn’t all that good at all).
He then went on to describe to the class, how they were all going to help me bring my heart chakra back into balance. They each in turn were asked to focus a feeling of love and send it in my direction. I was asked to just be open and experience what it felt like.
I have to say, I was open to the experience, but I didn’t think I’d experience anything like what I felt. It was like a wave of warm hugs hitting me all at the same time and I had this blissful feeling building up in my chest that nearly had me crying in joy ( I’m a guy, you know… “I had a little dust in my eye”).
I then had to describe to the class how it felt… It was like a warm, cosy, comfort-food, kinda motherly love feeling but with more intensity and a little bit of energetic excitement in there as well. Andrew checked my chakras with the pendulum again and found that this time, my heart chakra was in balance.
The experience changed me in a big way for the better. Not only did I see that it is possible to love everybody, no matter how much their own story conflicts with yours, but also, that love isn’t a gift you give someone. The idea of getting to a certain point in a relationship where it’s ok to tell someone “I love you” is just silly.
We add bits on to love. Hopes and dreams, attatchment and fear. Those famous cartoons of the little chubby boy and girl with the phrase “love is” should’ve been left at that… just simply LOVE IS.
The other thing I learnt from the experience is how our feelings can manifest and effect others. Those yogin in that class that all sent me feelings of love that re-balanced my heart chakra, they weren’t experts. They weren’t specialists in the field of chakra re-balancing through love. They were just normal people like myself.
How we feel, what we send out. It has a profound effect on those around us.
I’ve experienced it from the other side as well. Waiting in line at airport security… I can feel the itchy, scratchy, ants in the pantsy feeling of everyone getting irritated at not being in control.
As just a normal, salt-of-the-earth, kinda beer-drinking guy I can see that the ability to love everyone and everything isn’t just something that belongs to a certain spiritual minority. We really do all have the ability for it.
And what we each send out, regarding our feelings, really can change the world.